So have been working your tail off and you think that you deserve a raise? Congrats on all your hard work. Now you get the joy of navigating the murky waters of asking for that raise. The good news for everyone is that women are getting closer to men when it comes to successfully securing the raise and the ask rate for the younger generation is nearly equal regardless of gender.
Now that you got the courage to ask, let’s make sure that you are ready to ask for raise in a successful way.
Build your case and have good info
It’s likely not going to be good enough to simply say., “I’ve been here _(amount of time)_ and deserve a raise.” You need to build a case so that it is clear that you are creating more value than you had been previously. Think about:
The responsibilities that you have that you didn’t have since your last negotiated raise or your hiring. Have you taken on additional roles? Been a team leader on things you weren’t before? Contributing more than others?
What has been your impact on the numbers? Did you grow the business or add some new accounts? Share the financials and other metrics that are important to your boss.
What is your impact on others? Have you been mentoring others? Have you helped lower turnover or increased retention?
Have the number
Don’t build your case only to lose your momentum because you don’t know what to ask for. It can be a percentage or an actual number, but you need to have it ready to discuss. If you aren’t sure where to start to do some research. Find out what the national average is for your type of role. Take into consideration the industry, company size, and geographical location. Sites like Glassdoor to a good job of estimations, but don’t take their numbers as fact. I’ve seen them be both really low and really high depending on the role.
Leave your personal life at the door
I am an advocate that you should be involved and take an interest in co-workers’ lives as much as professionally possible. This, however, will be a time to say that it needs to stay at the door. You hurt your case when you include a need for a raise because of personal issues or want. You want to base the ask solely on what you have done for your employer instead of inadvertently guilt-tripping them into it.
Grace, patience, persistence
Even though you feel like you are deserving of a raise you may need to wait to build a stronger case for yourself. Have the patience to know when the right time is to ask your employer.
Be graceful when asking for a raise. You may have worked yourself up emotionally to get to the point where you ask for the raise, but you need to lean into your emotional intelligence to navigate this time successfully. Speak confidently, and clearly with a humble spirit.
You may nail all of this and still get a no. Take it with grace and realize there may be circumstances outside of their control (Budgets already set, freezes, etc). Ask when you can connect again on the subject and mark it on your calendar. If the issue is more that you need to do more, ask for feedback or steps to take and then set a goal timewise to make those changes.
Be ready, strong in your emotional intelligence and know what you want. Go in with grace and have the patience and persistence to keep at it if needed.
Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise. View life as a continuing learning experience. -Denis Waitley
A great leader is a continual learner. They never arrive at their final destination and are constantly looking for ways to grow their knowledge and experience. One of the most unfortunate interactions I have as a leader is with people who have been around for a while and think that there is nothing else that they can learn. Falling into the arrival trap can easily stall out your growth and career.
There are a number of ways to continue to gain the valuable experience needed to grow your career and salary. You only arrive and stop growing if you allow yourself to.
Gain experience right where you are
We looked at ways last week to grow your experience outside of your organization and regular routines. You can also grow your value experience right where you are as well.
Deepen your current skills: What are the main skills needed for the role that you are in? Are there ways that you can grow those a little deeper? Are there certificates out there that you can get, Linkedin learning sessions that you can take, or perhaps a local or regional conference or workshop that you can attend? Look for opportunities to present at meetings or gatherings that will force you to know your area more and to hone your skills.
Add responsibility: Adding responsibility is a great way to gain experience. Ask for opportunities to fill in for your boss when they are out or to shadow them in their activities when possible to learn their responsibilities. Once you understand those, ask to take on some of those responsibilities that make sense. An increase in responsibility could also look something like helping newer people in their roles, representing the team at meetings, and taking a role in more decision-making opportunities among others.
Special projects: Special projects offer you a chance to gain experience without a long term commitment or permanent change. They also give you exposure to people that you sometimes would not interact with. You are growing your experience, networking, and social skills. Wins all around!
Moving up in your career
Own it. Many people live under the misconception that their manager is in charge of their career and development. While they can be a good advocate for you, it is your responsibility for how your career turns out. Set your goals and aspirations and then let your leader know. It will help them in future planning and it should help them in looking out for opportunities for you to grow in experience.
Be intentional in all your interactions. Once you take hold of your career path, be intentional in your interactions and actions what you do. Ask for opportunities to prove yourself. Sit at the table instead of along the wall in a big meeting. How you present yourself can give you a boost or take you out of the conversation. Do you come across as if you are engaged, willing to contribute and have insight that others should listen to?
There is no ladder. The traditional sense of a ladder of responsibility is shifting in the workplace. Executives often move around to other areas in the same type of role to gain a depth of experience in a new area. Be prepared for there not to be a straight line to your dream job. Think of the value of the experience an opportunity may have to help you towards your ultimate goal instead of just a job title and position.
Continue to push yourself in your knowledge. You’ll find a more rewarding feeling in the job that you are doing. You’ll also be preparing yourself for that next step to move up and you’ll stand out from the crowd.
The only source of knowledge is experience. -Albert Einstein
Knowledge does come from experience and experience is the key to grow your value and worth in your career. If you want to continue to grow your income and land that dream job that you want, you’ll need to continue to hone your skills and build relevant experience.
Develop fundamental skills
It doesn’t matter what type of job that you have or what industry you land in, there is a set of fundamental skills that successful people need to continue to grow. Companies look to these skills at “get in the door” qualities for higher level positions.
Accountable: You take responsibility for your success and failures. You don’t make excuses when you fall short or place blame elsewhere.
Beats expectation: You over deliver on your promises and expectations. Bonus points if you are doing this with yourself and through your team.
Prioritization: You simply get things done. You don’t waste lots of time focusing on the wrong things.
Customer focused: No matter what you call the group/person you serve, you do it very well and put them up as the priority. (PTB episode 10)
Think about any job out there and put these five traits up to it. You are always going to be a top performer if you are doing these things well. It may be helpful to list these items out and evaluate yourself on how you stand in each area. Once you identify a few areas to work on, look to use your school or work time to grow in that area. Do you need to take up new responsibilities? Do you need to work on a better end product on what you turn in? Do you need to handle yourself better when a problem comes up?
Stand out by developing specialized skills
A specialized skill can help you stand out in your organization or as you think about your next career move. Work on something that adds value to your current position and can help you get to the next thing that you want. A few great places to look and start include:
Professional organizations in a field that interest you or one that is around your current job responsibilities.
Certification in your field that no one/few people in your organization have. The certification institute will often help you with tools and materials to present to your employer for them to see the value and perhaps help in the costs.
Identify key growth areas for your company. Are there some skills that you can learn to help the organization in that area? It may not require a full certification but perhaps a class or certificate on a specialized skill will help.
Where to start gaining experience
So where do you start in gaining experience? It can be a challenge no matter your career stage and you may feel stuck. Here are some places to research for opportunities.
School: Do you need to go to (or back to) a school to get a degree or perhaps just take some classes?
Volunteering in the community: There are more chances to volunteer than you likely realize. Do an internet search for volunteer opportunities in your area. (PTB episode 46: What volunteering can teach us)
Freelance, contract: Expanding your experiencing in freelancing is a great way to grow. Look at sites like fivver and other sites that cater to freelancers.
Non-profits: Linkedin often shows opportunities in non-profits to help in a professional way. They are often non-paid positions but help tremendously in gaining real experience.
Remember to keep a written track of all your experience. It’s easy to forget all the things that you have done after a fair amount of time passes.
Develop your fundamental skills and look for strategic ways to grow your experience. It doesn’t have to all come from the school that you are in or the job that you are at. We’ll continue to look at more ways to grow your experience, and career next week.
Experience is the thing of supreme value. -Henry Ford
Your experience makes you money. The more experience that you have, the more salary that you can command. Life is not all about money though. Your experience also gives you a chance to build lifelong friendships and have more satisfaction in your life and career. The value of your experience falls into one of three areas. Use these to determine if you have $1s and $5s or $20s and $100s.
How have you delivered?
The first thing that a hiring leader or recruiter is going to look at is your ability to deliver. Do you make things happen? What has been your impact on results, the people you worked with and the company as a whole? Evaluate the value of your delivery by assessing a few different areas:
What you have accomplished: What you really did….not what your responsibilities were. This is why I highly recommend putting accomplishments on your resumes instead of just your job role. People want to see what you were able to do. They want to see the impact of your work.
What you have fixed/made better: Did you leave the last place better than you found it? It’s one of our values here at Passing the Baton. You always want to leave whatever you participate in better than you found it. If you are out camping with cub scouts, leave the campsite better and less disturbed than when you arrived. If you are leaving to become a CEO somewhere, the company should be in a better position than when you arrived. Think through and write out what you have fixed and made better during your journey. This is one of the key story types from our Be the Storyteller episode. (PTB leadership podcast #124)
What problems you solved: We have covered problem-solving extensively at Passing the Baton and I’m sure that we are not done yet. It’s an essential skill that all good leaders must have. It’s good to write these down to catalog so that you don’t forget them. I have a tendency to solve an issue and move on quickly, and as a result, I sometimes forget the mass of problems that I’ve fixed over time. I’ll stop every so often and catalog those in written form so they aren’t lost forever. A better practice would be to capture them weekly. Bosses, recruiters, and organizations love a good problem solver. Everyone’s got problems that need to be fixed.
What do you have to offer?
What do you bring to the table? Many of your technical and leadership skills will fall into the category above. Hiring leaders are increasingly looking at your potential as they make hiring decisions. I recently worked with an organization that was trying to measure potential in assessments, surveys and feedback forms. If you scored high in potential, then you would get extra development opportunities. If you scored low you did not. Fairness aside, it shows that people care as much about what you can do as they do about what you are doing now. Here are some areas to consider in strengthening to show the value of your potential.
Integrity and values
Do you manage your career?
We talked a few months ago about owning your personal development. (PTB Episode #164: How to own your personal development). Leaders value others that have a plan for themselves and don’t simply rely on circumstance, longevity, and luck to get them further in their career.
Leaders are looking for behaviors as they evaluate your value and experience. Do you exhibit behaviors of continued success, perseverance, and planning? Do you have an intentional journey or one that is more happenstance or accidental?
Be intentional in gaining the experience needed to get to your next career goal and don’t expect it to just come to you. We’ll cover ways to do that over the next two weeks.
Evaluate yourself to know the true value of your experience. From there, you can assess your areas to grow and strengthen. Remember that you are growing your earning potential as you grow your experience.
A strong confident person can rule the room with knowledge, personal style, attitude and great posture. -Cindy Ann Peterson
I think that we sometimes underappreciate the power of body language. It can tell a much more truthful story than our words at times. I’ve been in meetings where I wrapped up my point quicker or didn’t push an issue not because of what was said, but because the person’s body language said that they weren’t receptive. We can unknowingly show our emotions through our body language and even send mixed signals. Our words say one thing, while the body says another.
Crossing your arms is an obvious non-verbal that people give off. It says that you are either angry, detached from the conversation, or not open to dialog. Sometimes we miss communicate in our body language and crossed arms is a commonplace that we do this. Some leaders, myself included, may cross their arms when they are really thinking about something. I’m not angry, upset or detached, but someone may think that by looking at me.
Grow your self-awareness to realize that you are crossing your arms in your interactions and make sure that they are uncrossed…..unless you really are detached, angry or not open to the dialog.
Show your hands
Showing your hands is a sign of trust and we sometimes have a tendency to hide them. Keep your hands above the table at meetings and out of your pockets and not behind your back during interactions. When someone can see your palms it says that you have nothing to hide.
Relaxed hands also show confidence and self-assurance, while fists or clenched hands show stress and anger. Let people see your hands in a nice comfortable position to show others that you are confident and open to dialog.
As you walk
Body language is just as important in your walk as it is during meetings and interactions. You may have a person in your workplace or class that constantly hunches over when they walk, and/or doesn’t look anyone in the eye. They come across as timid, not wanting to be there, uncomfortable and certainly not confident. This was me during my first year of high school. I was all of those things and even though I felt it, I didn’t realize that I was communicating it to others. I learned a trick from Oprah that went on to help me change into a much more confident person during an awkward time.
Keep your back straight, shoulders back and thumbs forward when you walk. Stand up and give it a try yourself. It sounds very simple but it does a few key things. First, it helps your posture. By pulling your shoulders back, it makes your body more open to others and shows that you are confident. I thought the thumbs forward trick was the best because it’s subtle and makes a world of difference. It keeps your hands out of your pockets and facing forward in a confident way. Presenting myself in this way was the first step in coming out of my shell and gaining the confidence that I wanted.
These are just three of the most common body language gestures that are easily fixed. Show your confidence by showing the right body language in meetings, interactions and while you walk to your next destination.
Some of the most valuable assets in your life are your friends and family.
Encouragement with your friends and family is just as important as encouragement at work. As we get older, this one seems to slip away from us. Think back to your time in high school or college. Encouragement for your friends and family and the value of those relationships were likely very high. As you enter the job market, start a family and you or your friends move away, it becomes more difficult.
Here are some tips to ensure that you stay connected with those closest to you and how you can continue to encourage them.
The first rule is that you’ve got to reach out to the person. You’ve got to make the connection. It’s funny how we have more access to each other than we have ever had before, but it seems more difficult than ever to reach out in a meaningful way. In the hunt for likes, comments, and subs, we’ve missed out on some authenticity.
Listen without judgment
I know that this one can be really hard because we have a tendency to be more blunt and judgemental with those that we are really close to. A way to encourage others is to quiet the voice in your head that wants to jump in and tell the person what obviously is wrong in the situation. It may not even be the other person’s fault, but still, hold back judgment.
Learn their love language
For those not familiar, Gary Chapman released a book years ago called the 5 Love Languages. He goes on to explain how everyone has at least one language that they love and one that doesn’t mean anything to them. They are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. Do you know someone who loves to hug it out? It’s pretty clear that they appreciate physical touch.
Understanding a person’s love language makes the encouragement go a lot further when its delivered in the way that matches to the person.
Don’t try to take over
Have you ever been in a situation where you had something taken over from you or you took something over from someone else? You most often see this in teaching moments where the teacher/mentor/parent gets frustrated to the point that they take over whatever they were trying to teach the other person.
Don’t try to take over someone’s situation. My wife calls it “fixing”. You don’t have to fix every problem that a person brings to you. If they aren’t asking for help, it’s likely that the person just wants to talk it out with someone. Don’t break their trust by trying to fix their problems for them.
Be specific and change how you offer help
Have you noticed that when you ask someone a question like “How can I help?” or “Let me know what I can do.” that you don’t typically get a request back? Ask the question in a different way. “Would it be helpful if I……?”, or “I would like to do….” Asking in this way frames it up better for the person to accept your help and assistance.
Don’t forget to reach out and check in with your friends and family. Be an encouragement for them by connecting with them in a way that they love, avoiding judgment or trying to fix the problem. Offer specific help when needed and be that encouragement that those close to you need.